Well over 1, 600 starving and emaciated beach lion pups have washed ashore on California's beaches in current weeks, evidence of a growing crisis that researchers believe is a result of "unusual movement" of fish for you to deeper waters.
Record-breaking warm temperatures on the West Coast are forcing fish to retreat towards deeper, cooler waters, which experts say is impacting besides sea lions, but also dolphins, birds along with other animals.
"Because sea lions will be the sentinels of the sea, this crisis is concerning given it indicates a more complex occurrence from the ocean, " Laura Sherr on the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, told Discovery News.
"Our underwater is clearly under stress -- coming from warmer temperatures to overfishing for you to pollution, " she added. "As changing ocean temperatures always force unusual movement of fish along with other species, we will continue to determine a shift throughout the environment. "
Normally this is the slow season for strandings, however the Marine Mammal Center has already rescued 571 animals thus far this year, with 519 currently being sea lions.
The crisis runs from northern to southern Florida. Keith Matassa, executive director on the Pacific Marine Mammal Center with Laguna Beach, informed Discovery Reports that his facility has rescued 285 beach lion pups this winter, in comparison with just 28 over the same period last year. 2013 was another difficult year, but not nearly as bad as this blog.
The pups being admitted towards facilities are extremely malnourished and infrequently suffer from secondary issues, including pneumonia or other infections.
Nate Mantua, panorama ecology team leader for NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, explained the pups are left behind simply by their mothers at key rookeries on the Channel Islands in Southern Florida. Normally the mothers nurse their pups for a couple days before going away to hunt fish along with other prey. The moms then return at once to nurse their pups.
Recent tagging and monitoring involving sea lion mothers found actually now traveling much longer distances to check out the fish, resulting in excruciating delays for their dependent pups.
"We believe that the puppies are leaving the islands to make it on their personal, but unfortunately are too young and inexperienced to survive from the wild, " Sherr said.
Related problems can be affecting dolphins now, as Matassa mentioned that fewer dolphins will be spotted in pods located over California coast. Certain birds of which prey upon fish, such since murres and brown pelicans, tend to be experiencing steep population declines.